Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cinnamon Flop

This is a fun coffee cake recipe... it's easy, doesn't require many ingredients, and it's done a little differently than your typical coffee cake. I remember making it for my husband many years ago as a breakfast treat. I recently made it for my kids, and they loved it, and were both asking when I would make it again. The cake batter is very basic, but the topping is the interesting part, and it gives you a buttery, gooey, delicious cake. It's comfort food, trust me! The recipe comes from one of my most-used cookbooks: From Amish and Mennonite Kitchens, by Phyllis Pellman Good and Rachel Thomas Pellman.

Here's what you need....
For the cake:

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter (Reserve the rest of the stick of butter for topping.)
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • flour, brown sugar, cinnamon - no exact measurements needed
  • butter (Use the remainder of the stick from the butter used above. Cut the remaining 7 tbsp. up into small chunks.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9" cake or pie pans with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Combine sugar, flour, and baking powder.

Add the melted butter, milk, and vanilla. Stir until well-blended.

Divide the batter between two, greased 9" pie or cake pans. The pans won't be filled all the way - the batter will just cover the bottoms.

Sprinkle tops first with flour:

Next, sprinkle brown sugar over top of the flour:

Then, sprinkle cinnamon over top of the brown sugar:

Lastly, push the chunks of butter into the batter. This makes holes and gets gooey as it bakes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serve warm with coffee! Enjoy!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Carrot Cake

This carrot cake recipe is a family favorite and the only one I ever make. It's moist, rich; and, as far as desserts go - healthy (though it doesn't taste like it). It's shown here in a Bundt style, but you can bake it in a 9x13 pan if you wish.

Here's what you need:

  • 2 c. unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. shredded carrots
  • 1 small red apple, peeled and shredded
  • 3/4 c. canola oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 10" Bundt pan with nonstick spray, dust with flour, and shake out the excess. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs and egg whites. Beat lightly with a fork. Stir in canola oil, orange juice concentrate, and vanilla. Add carrots and apple. Stir to mix well.

Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture, stirring until just moistened. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting:

You will need:

  • 8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3 to 4 c. confectioner's sugar, depending on the desired consistency
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese and vanilla. With an electric mixer, beat on low speed until creamy. Gradually add the confectioner's sugar, one cup at a time, beating after each addition until smooth and the desired consistency is achieved.

I used about 3-1/4 c. of sugar for a fairly thick frosting that was still able to be drizzled. If I were frosting a flat cake, I would have used the 4 cups of sugar for a thicker frosting.

This cake can be refrigerated, covered tightly, for up to one week. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Asian Turkey Burgers

I know a lot of people think of turkey burgers as dry, flavorless health food. If you're one of those people, I hope these burgers will change your mind! The bad thing about ground turkey is that it is bland and it needs the cook to give it flavor and make it palatable. And that's also the great thing about ground turkey - it's bland and it can take on lots of great flavors - it's a blank canvas, so to speak.  I think this recipe is simple, healthy, and flavorful. It only requires a handful of ingredients. One of them is Sriracha Sauce. You may be unfamiliar with it, but it's an Asian ingredient that is gaining popularity. You can find it in any grocery store around the Lehigh Valley - in the international foods section. Sriracha is a mildly spicy, garlic-infused chili sauce. Don't be afraid to try it - it's not so spicy that it will burn out your sinuses. And it's got great flavor. I only use a tablespoon in the recipe; and if you'd like, you can try mixing it into some mayonnaise to make a great condiment for these burgers.

Here's what you need:

  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce (low-sodium preferred)
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (not pictured above)
In a large bowl, combine all of the above-listed ingredients.

Mix thoroughly and form into patties.

Remember that ground turkey doesn't shrink as it cooks like ground beef does, so whatever size you make your patties - that is the size they will be when finished cooking.

I actually got 6 patties out of this recipe, but if you prefer them to be larger, you may only get 4 or 5. Preheat a large skillet (coated with cooking spray) over medium high heat. Cook the patties for 3 to 4 minutes on one side.

Flip them, and cook them for an additional 2 to 4 minutes, or until they are cooked through. The cooking time depends on how thick you make the patties; you may wish to use a meat thermometer to be sure they are cooked through. The internal temp. should be 170 degrees.

Serve on a toasted kaiser roll with lettuce and/or tomato. If you'd like, try mixing 1-1/2 tsp. Sriracha sauce into 3 Tbsp. mayonnaise for a great complimentary condiment.... spread on toasted bun. It adds an extra kick to this delicious burger!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Stuffed Shells

I've served this dish many times to company over the years, and it's always been a hit. Since it makes two, 9x13 dishes, you can always bake one for dinner and freeze one for another time. And I have to add that it has much more flavor if you use your own Meat Sauce for Pasta rather than store-bought sauce, (but store-bought is just fine if you're in a pinch).

Here's what you need:

  • 1 box (12 oz.) jumbo pasta shells
  • 3 c. ricotta cheese
  • 2-1/2 c. shredded mozzerella cheese
  • 1 c. shredded provolone or other complimentary Italian cheese
  • 3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese + extra for sprinkling over the top
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 recipe Meat Sauce for Pasta, or 2 jars of store-bought spaghetti sauce
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Coat the insides of two, 9x13 baking dishes with non-stick cooking spray.

Cook jumbo shells according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cheeses, eggs, salt, and pepper. Mix well to make the cheese filling.

Strain the cooked pasta shells and organize your workspace so that your baking dishes, shells, cheese filling, and sauce are nearby. Cover the bottom of each greased baking dish with 2 ladlefuls of sauce.

Begin filling your shells. Take a cooked shell in hand and stuff about a 1 Tbsp. of cheese filling inside. I do this by using a teaspoon (not the measuring kind; the kind you would use at the table). I take a heaping spoonful of the filling and push it off the spoon into the shell. (You can also put the filling in a large plastic bag, snip off one end of it, and using it like a piping bag, pipe your filling into each shell.)

Repeat with remaining shells until the baking dishes are full. Shells should be arranged in a single layer.

Top each dish of shells with the remaining sauce. Be generous - it will prevent the shells from drying out. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through. Serves 8 to 10.

Serve with a Caesar salad and garlic bread for an awesome meal.... enjoy!